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Calipari says even Kentucky sometimes hears “no” in recruiting and has to accept that


After a down year for SEC basketball, the league has 10 McDonald’s All-Americans — six will be at Kentucky — scheduled to be on teams this year and provide a needed infusion of talent that even Kentucky coach John Calipari says should make for “some exciting stuff” in the league.

“You talk about Florida and (Jarnell) Stokes comes back for Tennessee; I think they’re going to be good. You start talking LSU and what they’ve got back and the guys they’ve got coming in. Any time you’re adding talent, there’s hope. And I come back to: Talent doesn’t guarantee you win, but bad players is going to guarantee you losing. That’s just how it is. If you tell me there’s a guy out there that says, ‘Well, I like to coach ‘em up,’ well, you go coach ‘em up, and let me go get talented guys. And I’ll figure out my challenge, which is: How do I get them to play together? How do I get them to sacrifice for one another? And that’s the challenge,” Calipari said.

However, Calipari says his players will quickly learn that past accolades mean nothing.

“Now, the great thing about coming in this league as an All-American: You have no choice. I don’t care if you’re a McDonald’s All-American or what you are; if you don’t play with your team, your team’s losing,” the UK coach said. So you’re forced here because of the league and going on the road and having to win in these buildings, which are tremendous, and the coaching that goes on in this league. You’re going to exploit a team’s weaknesses and a player’s weakness.

“So I think it’s great and when you start talking – I don’t know exactly how many (McDonald’s All-Americans) have come in the league this year, but it’s a big number. Not just us. It’s other guys. They’re not afraid to go after those level players. Because that’s the first thing: Can’t be afraid to hear, ‘No,’ every once in a while. Everybody thinks we get everybody we want; You’re out of your mind. We hear, ‘No,’ a lot. You’ve just got to be able to accept, ‘No,’ and say, ‘That happens sometimes,’ and, ‘Who does want to play?’ and move on.”

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  1. King Ghidora

    Of course they hear no sometimes. Wiggins didn’t come to town, did he? Other than that for this year there weren’t many that turned down the offer. The thing is that next year the team could be right back in the same boat it was in last year. Cal’s system sure makes for a roller coaster ride. One thing is for sure. It ain’t boring anymore. :D



  3. Jim Boyers

    Agree completely with King.

    In fact, UK has heard “NO” from the top player in the last two classes: Muhammed and Wiggins. For whatever reason, there are players who resist the incredible opportunity that UK presents to them. I don’t get it, but everyone marches to their own drum and has to live with their own decisions. I’m sure Muhammed lost a LOT of money last night by picking a West coast team with NO exposure. I tend to think that Randle will make Wiggins have an equal amount of regret, when next June rolls around.

    The next 126 days can’t go fast enough.

  4. Larry Pup

    UK will never get them all. The players Cal does get are the pride of the “Bluegrass.” They are the real stars and are forever embedded in our hearts.. Wiggins made his choice, and he will never feel the love and pride that comes with being a “Wildcat.” To bad. He’ll just be an old “jayhawk.” Forever.

  5. Royalcrown

    There are recruits who will not join up simply because they want to be “different”. UK is the hot ticket in todays recruiting world and some kids will opt for other schools simply because they want to buck the trend.

  6. Kokamo Joe

    I say that Calipari gets most of what he wants. How can you argue with 6 McDonald All Americans plus two of the choice Kentucky bred boys in one year. How can you argue with his success year after year after year.

    Wiggins never will feel the love and pride of being a “Wildcat” ? True, but did you ever stop to think that there is love and pride in being a Jayhawk, or Hilltopper for that matter. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I suspect what Wiggins may have been looking for is stardom and the possibility of a first round draft and that he could shine brighter there than here. Still there is the possibility that he just liked Kansas and it’s coach better there than here.

    I realize that our stars will forever be imbedded in your hear and to some extent in mine. But will the majority of Kentuckians be as thrilled with next year’s stars years from now as they are with: Hagan, Ramsey, Beard, Nash, Epps, Mashburn…you get the picture. Now don’t think that I am putting down any body. I am just wondering if the short timers will be remembered as well and “embedded” in the hearts of the typical fan as those who stay around longer than a year or two.

    Not all of UK’s former stars have been Kentucky bred. But UK has had a share of them in the past. For instance Harrodsburg and Anderson County each had a kid play for the Cats. Nothing like having a kid from the local high school not only wear the blue, but star helps build community pride. People from those communities still talk about Terry Mobley and Jimmy Conner.

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